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Six Dinners You Can Pull Off In A Hurry

As part of ourSandy’s Sixblog series, Executive Chef Sandy DiGiovanni at The Culinary Center of Kansas City shares some of her favorite quick-to-prepare meals…

Even a chef doesn’t always have the time or energy to spend hours on a gourmet meal for dinner – maybe ESPECIALLY chefs.  We’re around food constantly, planning, preparing and cooking, and it’s often not appealing to think about it when we get home. So, what do I do when I want a great meal, but I don’t have it in me to fix something elaborate?  Here are a few of my go-to meals for those occasions:

  • Red Beans & RiceCajun red beans and rice.
    For a quick fix and a tasty meal, you can use canned beans and any quick-cook rice. Boom, you have your vegetarian-friendly meal. Add some polish sausage or kielbasa, if you like some meat in it.
  • Italian dinner.
    Make sure to keep some pasta and jarred sauce in your pantry for a super-quick Italian meal. You can add some garlic or basil to your taste, to feel like you’re putting a little bit of culinary magic into it.  Add garlic bread and a salad, and you have yourself a real meal!
  • Chicken  and quinoa.
    Bake some chicken – that’s a quick fix for any meal. Add some quinoa as a side dish. I like to add collard greens or kale – a light vinaigrette adds a nice touch and creates a meal that seems far more impressive than the work you put into it.
  • Greek SaladGreek Salad.
    I always keep some feta cheese in the fridge, so it’s an easy thing to put together a tasty Greek salad at any time. I throw together some salad, feta, cucumber, red peppers and either chicken or shrimp – whatever I have. I always have some olives around too. Top it with a lemon vinaigrette (which is great to have around – throw it together and it will keep in your fridge for 6 months or so!)
  • Pork Chops.
    Sear some chops and place them in a baking pan. Slice some potatoes and onions, and add those on top the chops in the pan. Top with peas, fresh or canned. Add a bit of salt, pepper and garlic. Bake for 1 1/2 hours and serve.  This one is a family favorite – definitely a regular at our house.
  • Italian Sausage HoagieItalian Sausage.
    I just made this one last night. (It’s another regular at Casa DiGiovanni.) I like to sauté turkey Italian sausage with some onions, peppers and potatoes, and serve it on a Hoagie bun. It’s a flavorful meal with very little time or effort spent.

OK, that’s it. You know my secrets. I like a quick, easy meal as much as the next person. But I don’t like to forfeit flavor for it.

These are some of my favorites – what are your family’s favorite go-to quick dinners?

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